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Monday, August 8, 2011

The art of getting interviewed

Generally, interviews are considered to be outside the 'control' of interviewee. But if you observe smart professionals, you will realise that they prepare on two different planks that help them substantially 'influence' the process of getting interviewed. With adequate preparation, you can definitely 'influence' the process of your interviewing, if not 'control' it.

1. Prepare on 'what you want to say about yourself'

a. First step is to write appropriate 'baits' in your resume for the interviewer to ask questions. For instance, if you have done some interesting work on a project in your college, you must write enough 'interesting' remarks about the project for the interviewer to 'compel' him to ask a question of that work. These are called as baits. If your resume is not designed properly with these baits, the interview is not in your control. Professional coaches do not just add ' flowery English language' in your resume, but they help you design these 'baits' in your resume so that you control the interview, not the other way around.  

b. Thoroughly rehearse on every 'bait' that you have included in your resume: Generally, interviews happen in English language. Therefore it is necessary to write the story around the bait, mug the story sequence, and then narrate it. Once you are sure you can remember the sequence and key words well, rehearse it infront of someone. Start with a close friend who understands your project, then rehearse with a friend who does not understand your project, and then with your parents. Everyone will give you 'feedback' that will help you to improve your 'narration'. Once you have got the narration in proper order, then try to shorten the narration time further. Some interviewers may not give you enough time!

c. Get ready to answer 'surprising' turns and twists in your resumes confidently: Be prepared for answering questions like: Why did you not do Electronics engineering when your father is an electronics engineer? Why did you miss one year after 12th ? Why did you do this course of Java in the second year? and so on. Also rehearse these answers, if you are not sure.

d. Prepare to answer typical questions. To get a glimpse of what questions are asked for different types of interviews, here is a sample .

e. Take adequate care of your body language: More than the content of answers, interviewer reads your body first and gets 'conditioned'. If your 'body posture' looks that you are not sure, despite your brilliant answer, the interviewer will get a wrong message.

On your own, you may find it difficult to know your body language. You may need to take help of someone senior enough to help you in this matter. It could be your parent, your professor, or some senior colleague of yours. Once again, a coach is more helpful in this matter.

2. Prepare for the 'audience' who is going to take your interview

Despite all your preparation, interviews get derailed when you encounter 'surprises'. One can only prepare oneself to reduce the surprises, not eliminate them. Here are the three important actions taken by smart professionals to reduce the surprises:

a. Understand the interviewer profile before going for a specific interview: If the interview is being taken by HR representative, be prepared for non-technical questions like 'Why did you do Engineering" and so on. HR is more interested in knowing the years of experience, the qualifications, and other family background. If there is any blip in the education period, be prepared to answer it confidently. For technical interviews, be prepared to answer the 'big' bait questions thoroughly.

b. Do a short research on the company background for which you are being interviewed: This knowledge is critical when you are applying for jobs where demand for jobs is more than supply, i.e for all freshers jobs or for your second job. At the minimum understand three elements of company: key differences of target company from other competing companies, the 'structure' of departments and offices in the target company, the strength and weakness of your job positions in that company ( is it in demand or is it run of mill position, for instance?).

You have to use different methods to get this information: Scan the websites, use the business analyst reports of the company issued by investment companies, talk with friends working in the company or sign up for different groups on the net and ask questions discretely.

Believe me, this does not take much time. Initially, when you are learning this, it may take more time; but as you become proficient in doing this, it will not consume more than a day.

c. Never ever answer any question that you are not sure about: Despite all the compulsion to answer all questions, answer only when you are confident. If you are not sure about anything, tell the interviewer that you are not sure and ask his permission to make an attempt to answer. Only if the interviewer gives you the permission, attempt to answer the 'unsure' question. In any case, it is better to say 'i do not know' than answer wrongly.